The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, may suspend the ongoing nationwide Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, in August.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the hint emerged during INEC quarterly consultative meeting with the media on Thursday in Abuja.
INEC at the meeting stated that it needed to suspend the exercise in good time in order to complete the procedures required for data processing, production and distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, ahead of 2019 general elections.
The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) states that “the registration of voters, updating and revision of register voters under this section shall stop not later than 60 days before any election covered by this Act’’.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, speaking at the meeting, said from previous experience, the timeline required from the close of registration to the point of production and issuance of PVCs to prospective voters was about 120 days.
“This time span is required for the purpose of claims and objections and other backed activities including running the Business Rules and Automated Fingers Identification System (AFIS).
“Another 30 days is required from the date of PVC production to the point of issuance to registered voters for the purpose of quality assurance, packaging and movement from the Central Store to the respective state and Local Government Area offices.”
Mr Yakubu also disclosed that the commission had ended CVR in Ekiti and Osun states ahead of 2019 general election.
He said that the commission had already concluded the exercise at ward level in the two states where governorship elections will be conducted in July and September respectively.
Mr Yakubu also said that the commission would give the needed attention to collection of PVCs to ensure that the prospective owners of uncollected cards did so ahead of 2019.
Clarifying the commission’s decision to enhance Smart Card Readers, SCRs, ahead of 2019 general election, Yakubu said it was to improve the functionality of the existing SCRs, adding that it was not to buy new ones.
Meanwhile, the media executives in a communiqué resolved that the Commission should ensure that all qualified Nigerians were registered.
The communiqué was jointly signed by Austin Maho, Editor Nigeria Pilot; Gbenga Aruleba, Head Reportorial, African Independent Television; for the media and Mohamed Haruna, INEC National Commissioner.
The media executives, however, urged INEC to take cognisance of the time required for the processing of the data as well as the production and collection of the PVCs.
They suggested that the registration should terminate in the middle of August 2018, while also calling on INEC to educate Nigerians accordingly.
On PVC Collection the media executives expressed concern over the high level of uncollected PVCs nationwide and advised that INEC devise innovative ways to ensure that more Nigerians collect their PVCs.
The media called on Nigerians to come out to collect their PVCs as a matter of urgency. While is resolved to assist INEC with ideas to sensitise Nigerians on the need to collect their PVCs.
Other presentations at the meeting included INEC’s preparations for the Ekiti governorship election, the collection of PVCs.
There was also a demonstration of the sample ballot paper for the 2019 general elections designed to accommodate the large number of registered political parties that may participate.
The meeting also had a preview of the Polling Unit Result Display Form, Form ECGOE, and the specimen ballot paper to be used for the Ekiti governorship election.